Motor Prosecutions Alert: Recent decision highlights importance of swift vehicle examination post collision
Published 17 February 2014
In the case of Clay v Clerk to the Justices (2014), the appellant appealed by way of case stated against his conviction for driving without due care and attention on the basis that the Magistrates' Court had been wrong to refuse to stay proceedings as an abuse of process.
The appellant had been driving a heavy goods lorry along the motorway in the early hours of the morning when he collided with the rear of a car, injuring the driver. The appellant was subsequently interviewed under caution and he said that he did not know how the collision occurred. The police later released the car which was subsequently disposed of by the insurer.
The appellant submitted that it was undisputed that the other driver had been making his way off the motorway because of a damaged tyre, and that evidence from two drivers who had been overtaking the car at the time of the collision was that the car had slowed down "quickly" and without brake lights being illuminated. The appellant contended that the police's release and the subsequent disposal of the car meant he had been deprived of the opportunity to see if the tyre had been safe and the brake lights had been in working order, and thus he had been unable to receive a fair trial.